Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Glo Run and a Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Miss N's 3rd birthday-- I want to make sure to add the pics before summer slips away.  So here we go...

The night before her big celebration, my aunties, my uncle, my mom, and I participated in the Glo Run in Des Moines.  We did this last year too, and had a ton of fun-- but it was FREEZING cold--- which was not really that much fun.  This year, the run was held about a month later which led to warmer weather but far fewer participants (we think maybe due to weddings/ graduations/ camping/ The Dam to Dam Run/ The Principal Classic Golf Outing/ etc.). It didn't really matter though-- we still had fun.

(Oh, the forecast called for rain and the clouds looming overhead looked like rain was inevitable-- thus the umbrellas!)

That night, I stayed in DM with my parents (yes, some good parent-child bonding time) before getting up Sunday morning to head to Sister's house.  She had planned the cutest puppy/kitty themed party and ordered perfect sunny weather for her guests.

We ran and played outside while guests (the cousins and grands) arrived-- which was super fun.  Charlie and Papa had race after race on the front sidewalk (Dad is such a good sport and I'm so grateful that man can keep up with my four year old).  Nora's new playhouse was the big hit among the kids-- and surprisingly, they all shared it really well.

Liz and I haven't seen each other much these past few months, which is too bad since we're both expecting. So, we took the opportunity to take a quick belly shot-- aside from the shed in the background, isn't it cute!?  ( 24 weeks and 32 weeks)

Then it was time for presents!!  Charlie was all about helping out.  I couldn't get enough of watching the two little party hats in front of me.

And after presents.... it was time for the good stuff.

And a few takes of all the cousins (that live in Iowa).

We hung around for awhile before saying our goodbyes-- Charlie was SO sad to leave, but tuckered out enough to sleep most of the way home.  Although it hadn't quite started, summer was just around the corner... making this quick little family filled weekend the perfect way to start things off!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer's Here!

Well friends, we are officially a week into summer vacation.  As crazy as it seems, the first week of summer is usually a weird/ difficult/ uncomfortable time for me.  The part of me that craves routine and schedules is all out of whack while the part of me that craves later wake up calls, morning walks, plenty of to-do projects, and endless adventures gets stressed about finding time to do it all.  And then you throw in planning kid lunches and I usually feel overwhelmed and unprepared and totally out of my element.  I feel completely un-equipped to suddenly be a stay-at-home mom, if only for a temporary ten weeks.

But this year has been different.  For starters, I worked extra days at school-- cleaning, rearranging, organizing, sorting, filing--- all with the hope that I don't need to do it during the heat of August. Something tells me I'll be pretty uncomfortable by then. :)

Then, last week Charlie started daily swimming lessons in Cedar Falls.  He was not excited about this but in our house, swimming lessons are non-negotiable.  We decided that his job as a four year old is to take lessons... and his paycheck would be a trip to Target (specifically, the toy aisle with Imaginext toys) at the end of the two weeks.  He gladly accepted and has taken his "job" very seriously.  The lessons are going great-- he's right on track with his peers and while I wish he would eagerly go under water and swim without any hesitation, I know he's right where he needs to be.  He listens to his teacher and tries everything they ask-- even jumping in the "big pool"-- which took a little reminding about 'his job' and that trip to Target.  I've seen such improvement from the lessons-- especially in his comfort level and his ability to get in/out of the pool on his own.  So the lessons are going great-- and they made the first week of summer transition much easier for me-- we had no choice but to just dive right into summer!  (pun intended)

(We weren't supposed to take pics... so these are quick and blurry and sneaky... don't tell anyone that I posted them to the internet!)

We've also been spending time at the city pool....which is never any fun.

I think about twenty people came up to me and said, "I didn't know you were expecting!" when I debuted my maternity suit at the pool.  The bump (not sure it's just a bump) cannot be hidden in June. :) 
In addition to C's busy lessons and open swim, I've managed to get in the pool to lap swim, thanks to some friends who agreed to watch Charlie during that hour.  In the past, I've wanted to lap swim, but hated to hire a babysitter for an hour-- so I'd often not go.  But as I've mentioned before, I'm trying to ask for help when needed and remember that my health/well-being should also be a priority in our family.

We've spent a few Friday nights on the golf course, and Charlie has loved toting around his own bag that Papa bought and stocked with orange balls and tees.  Mase doesn't miss many men's nights, and last week I started playing ladies night with some Parkersburg friends.  I'm convinced my growing belly is giving me extra momentum on my swing-- which has helped! I'm crushing my 5 wood --which is usually impossible.  That stupid 7 iron is another story though...

This week, we'll finish up swimming lessons and begin to prepare for our vacation.  (YIKES!)  We have another busy week ahead (P'burg library & park, Chuck E. Cheese with friends, Wellsburg Days, & shopping for a 20 hour road-trip snacks!)  Keeping busy is a little exhausting but if I don't try to squeeze every drop of fun & adventure out of this fleeting season, it only makes that dreaded winter even more unbearable.  So for now, I'll gladly load up the calendar and bags and totes and sand buckets and golf bags and anything else needed for endless summer fun...and plan on napping with a little one later.  :)  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

This morning, I woke up bright and early & looked over to see Mason sleeping peacefully.  I hopped out of bed and headed out to pick up donuts (because if you get to the grocery store after 7:00 on Sunday morning, they're pretty much gone) for my son.... and me.  

When I got home, Charlie was up and waiting for me in the living room.

"Is today Happy Father's Day?" he asked as I walked in the door. Then, noticing the small white bag in my hand, "What's in that bag?"  His chin tilted and his eyebrows furrowed ever so slightly-- enough to indicate that he knew exactly what was in that little white bag.  

I laughed, "Yes, it's Father's Day today and this bag has a present for my son in it.  Because he is such a good boy." 

"Donuts!!   Can we eat them now?" His smile was wide and his face full of hope and anticipation.  

"Well sweetie, didn't you want to do something for Daddy this morning?" I asked, wondering if he would remember the plan he concocted last night.  

"Make him a snack on a tray and he can eat it in bed!" 

So we proceeded to make pancakes, a smoothie, and coffee for Daddy while he "slept".  (He was awake, just enjoying the show happening in the kitchen.)  Charlie kept running in to the bedroom and shouting, "Stay in there! Don't come out! Stay sleeping, Daddy!" Eventually, breakfast was ready and the three of us enjoyed breakfast in bed. 

Later in the day, Charlie asked me, "Is today still Father's Day?"  When I replied, "Yes", he told me his great idea.  "Mom, I think that some day, we should have "Kid's Day" and you and Daddy will do something really special like eat breakfast on a tray just for me!" I smiled, remembering that my parents would always say, "Everyday is Kid's Day" when my sister and I asked similar questions.  And isn't it true?

It seems like we are always looking for new and special things to do with Charlie.   Of course, we love the daily routine and we find balance in small, ordinary blessings.  But part of what makes Mason such a good daddy is his dedication to being such an active father with his son.

The examples below clearly prove how much cooler Daddy is than Mommy.  Sigh.  'Tis life.

I was in Des Moines a few weeks ago and received this text:

 Those are tadpoles swimming in a bucket.  Mase took C out to the golf course and fished out a half dozen big tadpoles and a bunch of little ones.  (They've since been returned to the pond because I felt bad for them living in a bucket in our garage and not out in the wild. We had them long enough to see some leg development but that's it.)  Mason said Charlie was thrilled about the tadpoles and couldn't get enough of them.  But.... he had an even bigger surprise up his sleeve.  A little place we've avoided for 4 1/2 years called Chuck E. Cheese.

Later, I received these texts:

I really was a little sad to learn I was missing the best day of his life.  Of course, only Daddy could provide something like that.  And he rarely zonks out like this for me....

Another example:
Last week, while I was enjoying a little ladies night, I received this text:

Tadpoles, Chuck E. Cheese, Ice Cream Sandwiches....  Life with Daddy is just full of good, sweet, adventure.  And while the guy across the street got a Harley for Father's Day, Mase got breakfast in bed with big sloppy kisses, a card that plays, "Allstar" when you open it, and the knowledge that the person who made him a father doesn't think there's any better daddy alive on this Earth.

Happy Father's Day to so many great dads out there---including mine-- who doubles as the Best Papa in the whole wide world too (according to one particular four year old).  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Easy Breezy Beautiful

Cover Girl

I'm not exactly sure how I have thick Norwegian blood coursing through my veins, but according to my parents and my family genogram, this is the case.  You would think that coming from a long line of sturdy Dutch people would make me resilient to cold, harsh, weather but this is certainly not true. If anything, I think my blood might more closely resemble that of a Central or Southern American.  Give me hot anytime of the year.  Give me humid and the only thing I'll complain about is the way my hair randomly waves/curls/frizzes.  I figure I'll do all my weather complaining from December through April and then just sit back and be content for awhile.

So  now I'm in in my contentment zone.
And with school all wrapped up yesterday, I'm feeling pretty darn good.

I'm spending a few extra days up at my office to clean/clear/organize things so I don't have much to do next fall.  With a mid-September due date, I'm guessing I won't want to be doing much movement when we come back in August so I'd like to have things in order before I really settle into summer. Yesterday I spent time rearranging my office (well, my friend actually did the heavy lifting/moving because she mother-hens me which is actually kind of nice) and today I sorted and cleared and organized.  Tomorrow's goal is tackling the file cabinets-- which sounds pretty scary but is definitely something that needs to be accomplished.

Then, I'd like to walk out of the school and stay away all summer.  (Contrary to popular beliefs, this rarely happens in teacher world)

I'd love to have a lazy relaxing summer but, trying to remain true to our Spahnville style, we've already managed to pack the calendar.  Sometimes, I look at it and it seems a little daunting, but the excitement quickly overcomes the fear and I get giddy with anticipation!

* Charlie is taking swimming lessons in CF for two weeks.  This should be interesting as it will be with 12 kids he doesn't know and I'm hoping he learns things like going under water.  :)

* VACATION!  We're heading to the Gulf of Mexico with two other families.  We've rented a house right on the beach and our only plans include resting and relaxing and playing on the beach and in the waves.  Aside from the drive (which I've been mentally preparing for the last month), I-am-so-excited.

This is where we get to live for a week!  I. Am. Stoked.  

* We'll be patriotic with family and friends-- either in Dubuque or Spencer
* Camp Bomgaars:  My parents have asked if they could have C for a few days.... and he is OVER the moon excited about this.  They have big plans of taking him up to the twin cities to take in the dinosaur exhibit and some Mall of America roller-coaster rides.  They also want to take him camping.  In a tent.  Overnight.  More power to them.
* Cottage Fishing-- Mason is planning on spending some time at the cottage with his friend to do some fishing...which leaves him gone and Charlie with my parents and me.... all....by...myself..... :)   Notice, I'm not crying or worrying, I'm actually a little excited about my vacation with myself in our house.  It sounds heavenly as long as my boys come back after a few days.
* Adventureland:  We made the mistake of pointing out Adventureland the last time we went to Des Moines and now, we have one really excited four year old with high hopes of riding the rides there someday this summer.  Hopefully, we can score some discount tickets and spend a day riding the rides.  (You might find me in the Lazy River though-- I'll use this pregnancy thing as much as I can.)
* St. Louis-- What would summer be without a trip to St. Louis to see Mindy and the kiddos?  Our only plan is to make her hubs babysit at least one morning or night so we can have a little lady time all to ourselves.  
* Baby Harris!- And remember, my sister is due at the end of July so we'll have a new baby in the family that we'll have to meet and spoil for a few days.  (!!)

* Kelly is coming! She and Turner are flying in to spend time with her parents and then Spahnville gets them for four whole days!!  I'm exited already.
* Cottage?  We'll see how I'm feeling and if the cottage schedule would allow us to travel up there for a few days.  I'll be super sad if it doesn't work out-- relaxing in the hammock while the boys play on the beach sounds like a great way to spend a few days.
* School Starts!  (Craaaazy.  That's all I have to say.)

And somewhere in the midst of all those plans, I'm taking two classes, I'm attending girls-night campout, Mason is tackling a pergola/ patio project (Yay!!), Spahn & Rose GC is getting a total addition/remodel, we'll play as much Friday night golf as possible, we'll spend time at the pool, we'll participate in Summer Reading programs, we'll grow a garden (hopefully), we'll attend Farmers' Markets, I'll dink around with numerous craft & garden projects, AND we'll get things ready for a baby.  

Whew.  It sounds busy but in the best possible way.  Summer is my season.  It's when I feel most alive and productive and authentic. Welcome, Summer.  I'm so so so glad you're finally here.